Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—7. Venezia

July 6-7, 2023 | Days 7 and 8

After we finished printing at Officina Typo on July 5, we took a train to Venice (eating panini for dinner on the way). There we took two private motorboats to the Isola di S. Giorgio Magggiore—but only after our lead driver got confused and took us initially to the Hotel San Giorgio near the Rialto Bridge! The mistake gave us an added view of venice from the water as the boats had to go out beyond the Fondamente Nova before taking the Rio de la Plata to get to the Isola di S. Giorgio, home of the Centro Branca (our residence for two nights) and the Fondazione Cini.


Fallani Venezia | 6 July 2023

The morning of July 6 was free time. Several participants (Eran, Stefano, Shaqa, Fred, and Hofi) joined me in viewing Venice from the bell tower of S. Giorgio Maggiore before taking a lettering walk through the city. Our walk was severely hampered by a drizzly rain that became a downpour within half an hour after we had crossed to the Riva degli Schiavone. After getting soaked looking at the various inscriptions at the Arsenale, we simply tried to find places to stay dry. Luckily, the sun came out just as we stopped for lunch at Cantina “do Spade”, a cicchetti bar so tiny we had to eat outside.

After lunch we met up with everyone else, including Peter Kruty and Sayre Gaydos, at Fallani Venezia, a silkscreen printer in the Cannaregio section of Venice. The business is a one-man operation run by Gianpaolo Fallani. We were there to print the cover I had digitally designed for the keepsakes made at Archivio Tipografico, Il Buon Tempo, and Officina Typo. Watching the silkscreen process was a change of pace from having seen four different approaches to letterpress printing during the tour.

Gianpaolo Fallani explaining the silkscreening process to Legacy of Letters 2023 participants. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Silkscreen materials at Fallani Venezia. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Gianpaolo Fallani showing Stefano Baldassari how to hold and pull the squeegee. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Fred Wiltshire pulling a print. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Shaqa Bovand transporting a silkscreened print to the drying rack. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Jen Thomas arranging prints on the drying rack. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Eran Ben Barak (center) adding the Fallani Venezia chop to the finished print. Photograph by Paul Shaw.


Fondazione Cini | 7 July 2023

In the morning of July 7 we visited the Fondazione Cini, a venue Legacy of Letters has been to many times since 2010. On our viewing list were some of the old standbys such as De re Militari by Roberto Valturio (1472), the calendarium of Johannes Regiomontanus (1476) printed by Erhard Ratdolt, De Aetna by Pietro Bembo (1495) and Hypnerotomachia (1499) both published by Aldus Manutius, Giovanni Antonio Tagliente’s Lo presente libro Insegna la vera arte delo Excellent scriuere… (1524),  and Divina proportione by Luca Pacioli (1509). This time I added other exampes of early printing and typography such as Vnderweysung der messung… by Albrecht Dürer (1525), Dante’s De la volgare eloquenzia edited by Giorgio Trissino (1529), and Aesopus moralisatus printed by Giovanni and Alberto alvise (1479). We focused entirely on printed books, ignoring manuscripts.

Ilenia Maschietto (fourth from left) meeting the Legacy of Letters 2023 participants in the courtyard of the Fondazione Cini. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Interior of the Manica Lunga at the Fondazione Cini. Our study room was through the first entrance on the left. Photograph by Jen Thomas.

Ilenia Maschietto showing incunabula books to Legacy of Letters 2023 participants. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Susan Fitzgerald (center) getting a closer look at a miniature manuscript. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Frontispiece to De re Militari by Roberto Valturio (1472). Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Detail of Vnderweysung der messung…by Albrecht Dürer (1525) with tip-in illustrations. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Frontispiece and title page of Aesopus moralisatus printed by Giovanni and Alberto Alvise (1479). This is the first book printed with metal ornaments. Photograph by Paul Shaw.


The visit to the Fondazione Cini concluded the touring portion of Legacy of Letters 2023. That afternoon we traveled to Cornuda where we began the letterpress workshop the following day.